Whale trail to be launched to draw in wildlife tourists

The Herald - - NEWS - CONOR RIOR­DAN

A NEW whale-watch­ing route is to be launched across Scot­land’s west coast as part of efforts to pro­mote the coun­try as a top des­ti­na­tion for spot­ting the mam­mals.

The He­bridean Whale Trail will be a net­work of around 25 world-class wildlife watch­ing lo­ca­tions and the first of its kind in the UK.

It is also hoped the project will pro­mote Scot­land as one of Europe’s best des­ti­na­tions for spot­ting whales, dol­phins and por­poises – col­lec­tively known as cetaceans.

Karl Stevens, He­bridean Whale Trail man­ager, said: “Peo­ple cur­rently visit Scot­land for the landscapes, wildlife and cul­ture – but not nec­es­sar­ily to see cetaceans.

“With the He­brides be­ing one of the best places in Europe to see these spec­tac­u­lar an­i­mals, we want to add them to the mix – and our re­search shows that the po­ten­tial is huge.

“We’re keen to hear from lo­cal peo­ple, com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses for their ideas and sug­ges­tions.

“That will en­sure the He­bridean Whale Trail em­bod­ies the spirit of the He­brides and places

Scot­land’s land-based whale watch­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties on the in­ter­na­tional map.”

Due for a sum­mer 2019 launch, the am­bi­tious ini­tia­tive will con­nect and sup­port ex­ist­ing wildlife tourism busi­nesses and her­itage sites of na­tional cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance that show­case the his­tory of peo­ple’s re­la­tion­ships with whales in the He­brides.

Many of these will be small, com­mu­nity-run vis­i­tor cen­tres at spec­tac­u­lar sites.

The trust hopes to iden­tify sites from the Clyde in the south to Cape Wrath in the far north, and as far west as St Kilda. There will be a va­ri­ety of lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing re­mote head­lands and sea lochs, white sandy beaches and bustling harbours.

It will have a web­site with sug­gested routes, trans­port op­tions and site de­tails, with visi­tors able to share ex­pe­ri­ences by up­load­ing pho­tos.

David Adams Mcgilp, of Visits­cot­land, said: “This new Whale Trail will help ce­ment Scot­land’s rep­u­ta­tion as one of the best places in the Europe to watch ma­rine life and pro­vides a plat­form for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to come to­gether and pro­mote ev­ery­thing that makes the He­brides such a unique place.”

„ The Whale Trail will em­body the spirit of the He­brides.

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